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How Gameplay Lowered my Cancer Levels

Since 2006 I have been living with Multiple Myeloma, a form of blood cancer. Although my various cancer treatments and side effects have presented mental and physical challenges I have tried to maintain a positive attitude towards life. In Spring 2012 I was presented with the opportunity to be a SuperBetter all-star, an online social game co-created by alternate reality game designer Jane McGonigal. SuperBetter focuses on building personal resilience when faced with personal challenges. My SuperBetter goal was to take a creative self-portrait each day until Sept 1st 2012 to help maintain my cancer levels. Day 89 during my quarterly Cancer Specialist appointment I found out my cancer levels had actually dropped. As I'm not currently on cancer drugs, he was surprised - but I knew the reason - SuperBetter. This talk will explain why I attribute gameplay to lowering my cancer levels and how I use photography as a form of gameplay to remain passionate about life.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Why is it like to live with cancer?
  2. What was it like to be a SuperBetter all-star?
  3. Why do you attribute SuperBetter to lowering your cancer levels?
  4. What role does photography play in how you cope with cancer?
  5. What is the role of gameplay in helping you deal with cancer?



Phillip Jeffrey, PhD Student, University of British Columbia

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